DIY Car Maintenance Tips that Even Newbies Can Handle

Cover Photo by Rawpixels from Unsplash

Catherine Shaw

Owning a car is a huge responsibility for many people because it entails a lot of expenses. For example, after you settle the down-payment for the vehicle, you need to settle the monthly car loan payment.
Additionally, you need to worry about the regular fuel expenses, car insurance premiums, and maintenance and repair costs. Fuel expenses are unavoidable if you use your vehicle for your business or work. On the other hand, you can save a lot of money by choosing the right car insurance provider that offers insurance premiums that fit your budget.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can minimise your car expenses. One of which is to learn DIY auto maintenance. In this article, you’ll learn all the essential car maintenance tips that you can use to minimise your trips to the car repair shops.

Start with the air filter

The air filters of your car need replacing every 12 months. It’s a simple and short task that won’t require you to use any special tools.
To start the task, open the hood and locate the filter inside the black box. Check how the old filter is attached to the casing to avoid inserting the new one the wrong way. Once you have the replacement attached, you can close the lid.

Install new spark plugs

If you’ve driven more than 30,000 miles, it’s highly recommended to replace the spark plugs.
You will need a socket wrench or ratchet, a spark plug socket and 12″socket extension. You might need around 30 minutes to complete the task.
To succeed in this task, you need to be extra patient and attentive. Focus on how the spark plugs are attached.
To start, open the hood and try to find thick and rubbery wires. Depending on the number of cylinders that your car has, you may be able to find four, six or eight spark plugs attached to the rubber wires.
Remove the wire from the plugs one by one. Make a note of the wires attachment system because you will need to reattach everything the same way.
If you’re having a hard time removing the first plug, go ahead and use a spark plug socket and extension on the wrench or ratchet.
When you install the new plug, screw it by hand then tighten it with a wrench. After that, you can re-attach the plug wire. Repeat the entire process until you replace all of the spark plugs attached.

Replace the wipers

Photo by Charlie Deets from Unsplash
Replacing the windshield wipers will only take around 15 minutes to complete. Experts suggest installing new wipers every year.
The replacement procedure differs depending on the car model, brand and make, so it’s best that you refer to the manual.
Here are some of the key steps that you must remember:

  • Lift the windshield blades and remove them.
  • Like in replacing the air filter, you also need to check how the blades connect to the windshield arms.
  • Try to locate the tab under the wiper. Push it to release the old wiper blade.
  • Install the replacement carefully to avoid damaging the windshield or wiper arms.

In case you get distracted while removing the old blade, you can refer to the box of the replacement blade for installation instructions.

Work on the car battery

To perform battery maintenance you’ll need wrenches, wire brush, corrosion-removal fluid and rags. It will take you around 20 minutes to perform a detailed car battery maintenance.
Find the battery terminals and remove the negative cable first. Then, you can detach the positive cable. If you can’t remove them, use a screwdriver.
Clean the battery post with coca-cola, baking soda solution or a professional cleaning solution. Apply the cleaning solution and use a wire brush to remove dirt and gunk.
Rinse the post with water and wipe them with dry rags. Then, you can replace the terminals.

Replace the oil and filter

Expert car mechanics recommend changing the engine oil once you reach 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Before you change oil, you should drive around the neighbourhood to heat the oil. However, take note that you shouldn’t work on the engine while it’s hot. Let it cool down after your short drive.
You need to jack up the vehicle so you can find the oil pan faster. Once you locate the pan, remove the plug and drain the oil completely.
Then, you must go back to the engine and remove the filter with a wrench. To avoid spilling oil, you must ensure that filter is only two-thirds full before you reinstall it. Once you have it in place, you can add-in more oil until the filter it’s full. You can use a dip-stick to check the oil level.

Photo by Benjamin Child from Unsplash
Opting for DIY car maintenance can surely save you a lot of money if you do it right.
Before you perform the maintenance task, make sure that you fully understand the process.
Read the car manual and read guides to avoid making a costly mistake. Observe how the wires and other car components fit so you can reattach them the right way. If in doubt, you can always ask for advice from the experts.
About the Author:
Cat is a writer that lives in merry old England. Being raised in a family of car mechanics and salesmen, she has been exposed to engine grease and vehicle smoke ever since she was little. By day she works for Quoteradar and by night she contributes to websites that feature car blogs. Read more of her work here at

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